Image by arellis49. Creative Commons
A few years ago, I sat at the table in the local state employment center as the workforce development case worker explained how the Worker Investment Act (the stimulus) grants awarded to re-educate laid-off workers. I took note of who was there. It was mostly males and the average age was about fifty, which made me feel right at home. As they told their stories, I was totally surprised to find out most of them were highly skilled, long-term employees whose jobs were off-shored. Several of them had to train their own replacements. It was not at all what I expected.
Outsourcing sucks. But, we love it and rely on it. Many of us have for years been outsourcing our spiritual nurture, our worship, our community, our mission, our charitable giving, and our children’s spiritual training. It’s called church. It’s funny how some churches have come to resemble big box stores with their nondescript buildings and a menu of spiritual services. It’s spiritual Wal-Mart!
Wal-Mart’s goal is to have everything you normally would need to purchase at a good price, so you will do one-stop shopping and not even consider other options. The institutional church would like us to think the same, but we do have options. We need to re-think our spiritual practices and ask ourselves, “Who is really responsible for my spiritual expression?”
Once we leave the church, we have to learn how to live with freedom (and responsibility). It’s not all figured out for us like it was when we outsourced our spiritual expression to the church. It is a hard thing for those of us who spent a lot of our life in the church. I don’t think we need to obsess over these things, but rather discover them as life unfolds. If our faith is genuine, it will find expression, but it is helpful to think about some of the options before us.